Monday, December 10, 2012
ARC Review: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Title: Opal (Lux, #3)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: December 11th, 2012
Opal is, without a doubt, the best novel in the Lux Series by far. Not only are the stakes amped up immensely, with the arrival of Dawson, the death of Adam, and Katy's slow acceptance of her powers, but the characters are all far more grown up and well-developed. Gone are the days of playful bickering, of laughter and happiness, of dumping pasta on the head's of utter idiots. Instead, constant training, plan-making, and serious espionage are at hand, all with the classic dash of Armentrout's typical humor, amusement, and romance. If this is Armentrout's growth as an author, I simply cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
Opal opens up normally enough - or as normally as things can be in Katy's life. Dawson is back, but he's a different person and estranges himself from his family. Dee avoids Katy like the plague, Will still hasn't been heard from, and there's no sign of Blake. Until, suddenly, he arrives back with a proposition, agreeing to reveal the location of Beth, Dawson's girlfriend, and divulge the secrets of how to break her out if the Luxen will help him break out Blake's friend, Chris, as well. Dawson, as expected, is all for the plan, but Daemon and Katy can't help but feel uncertain...can Blake really be trusted after all?
One of the best aspects of this book was, hands-down, the character development. Daemon, especially, is far removed from the arrogant alien he was when we first met him. Now, he's as attentive and caring as Dawson was in Shadows, all while retaining his ego, vanity, and alpha-male-persona. Still, he is incredibly like-able now and his relationship with Katy takes on a very realistic edge. Although both Katy and Daemon have their faults and both of them want different things from their relationship, with Katy attempting to retain her individuality and strength while coming to accept that she needs to depend on Daemon at times too, their journey into forming a balance between their expectations and learning to trust and compromise with each other is wonderfully written. Furthermore, fans of the pair will "ooh" and "aah" plenty of times for Daemon sure knows how to pull out the romantic gestures and let me tell you, things get hot in this one! ;)
In addition to Katy and Daemon, however, I loved Dawson. I'd already given my heart to him in Shadows, but seeing his gradual return to his usual self, his interactions with Dee, Daemon, and especially Katy, all just about mended my broken heart together. Dee, despite her initial cold-ness in the beginning of the novel, slowly begins to thaw and change as the story progresses and her realistic reaction to Adam's death was also very well portrayed. Furthermore, I am thrilled to report that as a villain, Blake doesn't fall short of development either. It is easy to see him as a black-and-white individual, but Armentrout slowly peels back his layers and reveals to us the gray that our angry judgement clouds over. It's kind of brilliant, if I do say so myself.
Yet, as with every Lux novel, the pace is heart-pounding. At times, the build-up to an event itself made me want to run around in circles from anticipation and the constant action was thrilling. Opal is slower than the other two novels, in a sense, since there is a greater emphasis on character and growth after all the events in Onyx, but this never bothered me. It never felt as if the story lagged or fell back in any part or even as if the romance took over, so I can ultimately pleased with the overall package that is Opal. Fans of this series are bound to be more than a little satisfied with this installment and begging for more since the cliffhanger ending of this is deadly. If you thought Brennan's ending in Unspoken was bad, think again! >.< Nevertheless, that qualm aside, Opal is a sequel that can't be missed, no matter what!